Before getting too far into this post, here’s my disclaimer. I think that on a good team, Eric Young, Jr. is a fourth outfielder, and essentially a super sub since he can also play the infield. That said, the Mets just completed a 6-3 road trip after a 2-4 home stand to open the season. Let’s take a look at some numbers Young has put up in the Mets’ 8 wins this year.
April 4- Mets win 4-3, EYJ goes 0-3
April 5- Mets win 6-3, EYJ goes 1-4
April 8- Mets win 4-0, EYJ goes 2-4 with 2 SB
April 10- Mets win 6-4, EYJ goes 3-5 with 3 SB and 4 runs scored
April 12- Mets win 7-6, EYJ goes 0-4 with 1 SB
April 14- Mets win 7-3, EYJ goes 2-3 with 1 SB and 2 runs scored
April 15- Mets win 9-0, EYJ goes 3-5 with 2 runs scored
April 16- Mets win 5-2, EYJ goes 1-4 with 2 SB and 1 run scored
After 15 games, Young is batting .255 with a .344 OBP and 9 stolen bases (he has not been caught stealing). Before the season, Terry Collins said that a .350 OBP from Young would serve as a spark for the Mets. Young has almost gotten there, and considering he did not get a hit until the 5th game of the season, his OBP of late has exceeded .350.
Young’s success and its correlation to the Mets’ recent winning is not unique. Most teams do well when their leadoff hitter is getting on base. However, many have derided Young for not getting on base enough, and labeled him as nothing more than a bench player. While he may not be a true regular player, his contributions to Mets’ victories are very apparent.
Young will continue to play when Chris Young returns from the disabled list on Friday, due to the hamstring injury to Juan Lagares (who is on the DL until April 30th). Once Lagares is back, Eric Young’s playing time will decrease. How much remains to be seen. However, Eric Young has undeniably done an admirable job at the top of the Mets’ order so far. When his playing time diminishes, the Mets will be in a good place having him as a spot starter and valuable bench piece.